Incarceron Book Review

Incarceron Book Review

Matt Dwyer, Senior Staff Writer

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is one of the best books I have ever read. A science fiction dystopian novel, it does not succumb to the many clichés of this young adult genre, telling an original story in an inventive world. The first of the book’s two protagonists, Finn, is stuck inside the infinitely vast prison Incarceron from which there is virtually no escape. The second protagonist, Claudia, the daughter of the extremely wealthy warden of Incarceron, is trapped in an arranged marriage. Once she finds a way to communicate with Finn from outside the prison, his plight for escape gives her a thread to begin pulling her father’s lies apart.

Fisher’s writing vividly and accurately describes every nuance and large-scale phenomenon in the book, giving the reader a clear and exact picture of Incarceron and the world around it. The glossy dystopian vision blends medieval and futuristic aspects, creating a truly intriguing premise, its underlying corruption epitomized in the horrors of Incarceron itself. Switching from Finn’s perspective to Claudia’s and vice versa at cliff hanger cessations, the author created suspense and posed questions that stretched over multiple chapters, until the perspective that was abruptly cut-off resumed. Incarceron’s language thick with vivid images and lasting suspense pulled me in immediately, a drastic and welcome change to the sparse descriptions and predictable plot of a book I had read beforehand.

The chemistry and dimension of the characters added another level of tension and depth to the book. While Finn and a group of his fellow prisoners attempt to escape Incarceron with an invaluable object, the team’s electric chemistry composed of their opposing motivations and ideas caused their very togetherness to incite suspense. As their continuously volatile predicament worsens, it opens the door for a surfacing of true colors in potential confrontations. The controversial and fresh personalities of the characters Finn meets spark growth him, and cause him to question his outer world and inner self. Experiences with these bubbly and frank characters veer his personal journey away from cliché developments, in which he would only realize corruption in his world. Finn always knew Incarceron was corrupt. It is how he overcame the struggles it presented that matters.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy or fiction.

I give Incarceron four and a half stars out of five.